Reactive oxygen and nitrogen species production in cardiomyoblasts during hypoxia and reoxygenation

  • Rajitha K. Kolamunne

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Hypoxia is a stress condition in which tissues are deprived of an adequate O2 supply; this may trigger cell death with pathological consequences in cardiovascular or neurodegenerative disease. Reperfusion is the restoration of an oxygenated blood supply to hypoxic tissue and can cause more cell injury. The kinetics and consequences of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS/RNS) production in cardiomyoblasts are poorly understood. The present study describes the systematic characterization of the kinetics of ROS/RNS production and their roles in cell survival and associated protection during hypoxia and hypoxia/reperfusion. H9C2 cells showed a significant loss of viability under 2% O2 for 30min hypoxia and cell death; associated with an increase in protein oxidation. After 4h, apoptosis induction under 2% O2 and 10% O2 was dependent on the production of mitochondrial superoxide (O2-•) and nitric oxide (•NO), partly from nitric oxide synthase (NOS). Both apoptotic and necrotic cell death during 2% O2 for 4h could be rescued by the mitochondrial complex I inhibitor; rotenone and NOS inhibitor; L-NAME. Both L-NAME and the NOX (NADPH oxidase) inhibitor; apocynin reduced apoptosis under 10% O2 for 4h hypoxia. The mitochondrial uncoupler; FCCP significantly reduced cell death via a O2-• dependent mechanism during 2% O2, 30min hypoxia. During hypoxia (2% O2, 4h)/ reperfusion (21% O2, 2h), metabolic activity was significantly reduced with increased production of O2-• and •NO, during hypoxia but, partially restored during reperfusion. O2-• generation during hypoxia/reperfusion was mitochondrial and NOX- dependent, whereas •NO generation depended on both NOS and non-enzymatic sources. Inhibition of NOS worsened metabolic activity during reperfusion, but did not effect this during sustained hypoxia. Nrf2 activation during 2% O2, a sustained hypoxia and reperfusion was O2-•/•NO dependent. Inhibition of NF-?B activation aggravated metabolic activity during 2% O2, 4h hypoxia. In conclusion, mitochondrial O2-•, but, not ATP depletion is the major cause of apoptotic and necrotic cell death in cardiomyoblasts under 2% O2, 4h hypoxia, whereas apoptotic cell death under 10% O2, 4h, is due to NOS-dependent •NO. The management of ROS/RNS rather than ATP is required for improved survival during hypoxia. O2-• production from mitochondria and NOS is cardiotoxic during hypoxia/reperfusion. NF-?B activation during hypoxia and NOS activation during reperfusion is cardiomyoblast protective.
Date of AwardApr 2010
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorHelen R Griffiths (Supervisor) & David Poyner (Supervisor)


  • mitochondria
  • superoxide
  • nitric oxide
  • NOS
  • protein oxidation
  • NOX
  • NF-κB
  • Nrf2
  • reperfusion
  • H9C2 cells

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